Taking five years off in the music industry is an eternity, especially in today’s overly saturated market of overnight success stories and YouTube ‘sensations.’ That’s what Mike Stroud, one half of instrumental electronic duo Ratatat, thought anyway.
“Everything comes out so fast these days so I didn’t know if people had moved on or not. It was exciting that people were still coming to our shows. It was a surprisingly nice reaction actually, this time around.”
Their latest album, last year’s Magnifique, has been particularly well received by Australian audiences. Two of their tracks, ‘Abrasive’ and ‘Cream on Chrome’ saw high radio rotation, with the latter featuring at number 52 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown for 2015.
Coming back for Groovin’ the Moo this year after having toured last year for Meredith and the inaugural Fairground Festival in NSW, it’s safe to say the band hold a strong bond with Australia.
“Those shows were great. We had an especially good show in Melbourne I remember. We always have a blast when we come to Australia. They’re such nice, fun people.”
The food is a strong pull for the duo too, one cuisine a particular favourite.
“We’re both kinda obsessed with Sichuan, like super spicy Chinese food. We seem to always end up in this amazing little china town wherever we go in Australia so we always have good food. Especially in Melbourne!”
The last time the duo came to our fair shores was in 2011 for the now defunct, Big Day Out; a bittersweet memory for many Australian festival goers. Mike has similarly fond memories of it.
“That was fun because we had never done a festival tour like that. It was cool that you had the chance to meet other bands and make friends. I remember I think I saw Die Antwoord like five times!”
Ratatat’s live shows have been described as similar to psychedelic bands of the 1960s with energetic light shows, swirling colours mishmashes with iconic film clips for good measure. It’s a big scale production and setting it all up requires a lot of time and effort.
[include_post id=”471703″]“My band-mate, Evan (Mast), makes most of the videos and we project different videos for each song. I know it’s really time-consuming, even just figuring out how much lights or lasers you wanna use. There’s a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly what we want. Once we have all that preparation set-up, we can just go out there and have fun. Sort of get in automatic mode.”
It’s refreshing to hear a band so dedicated and meticulous about their live performances. Recording mostly instrumental music that dances between rock, disco and electronica, Mike reveals they sort of have to be.
“We’re not a rock band that can just get up there and improvise all night. It’s a little different for us. It has to be really structured.”
There’s also another reason for their fastidious planning: “We’re both kind of shy so we don’t necessarily want people looking at us! So we give them a lot of distractions,” he jokes.
Currently riding a wave of international acclaim, success certainly hasn’t come easily for Ratatat. After years of relentless touring, Mike recalls that breakthrough moment when everything finally came together.
“There was one particular show in Paris at the Olympia maybe five years ago that stands out. We’d been struggling on our tours in Europe for years and then finally it just started to click in Paris. That felt like a big accomplishment. It took years to get there.”
The duo released their debut single, ‘Seventeen Years’ in 2003, this fact alone may surprise a lot of people unfamiliar with the band before last year’s breakthrough record. With five albums now under their belt, Mike reflects on the bands growth over the years and what lies ahead for Ratatat.
“Our songwriting has gotten a lot better. Production wise we’ve gotten a lot better too. I don’t necessarily know where we’re gonna go next. At some point soon we’re gonna start working on new stuff. It’s always kind of a complete surprise what we’re gonna do.
RATATAT NATIONAL TOUR DATES
THUR 5 MAY – Perth METRO CITY
Groovin The Moo Dates
Saturday, 23rd April 2016
Maitland Showground, Maitland NSW
Sunday, 24th April 2016
University of Canberra, Canberra ACT
Monday, 25th April 2016
Oakbank Racecourse, Oakbank SA
Saturday, 30th April 2016 – SOLD OUT
Bendigo’s Prince Of Wales Showground, Bendigo VIC
Sunday, 1st May 2016
Townsville Cricket Grounds, Townsville QLD
Saturday, 7th May 2016
Hay Park, Bunbury WA